To What Extent Should Body Art Reflect Personal Identity

A Brief History Tattoos have been around for a little over 5,000 years now. Both tattoos and body art can be dated back to when the Henna roamed and Egyptian gods were the ones who ruled. Tattoos are a form of body modification where a choice of design, that can be as simple as a star or as complex as a human face, is made on the skin by inserting ink. Tattoos can have several different meanings including cultural, religious, and personal.

Now, tattoos have little to no meaning and people get them for no reason. Whether it be for a dare or because they like it, tattoos have significantly changed as time passed and the cultures of people began to change and merge. They tend to show off their identity and people. The cultural views on tattoos may be as meaningless as people may think. The cultural views are slowly fading away. The Cultural Views of the Past Though cultural views of body art may seem to be fading, they were a big thing in the past.

In the past, “The Torah describes piercings as common among Jews, making no distinction between ear or nose rings. We circumcise and pierce.  If Hittites pierced their elbows in four places and wore tattoos of a fox chasing a rabbit, then those cultic actions would be disallowed”. Body modification was a common occurrence in different cultures and religion. It was a time where people were willing to show off their culture and to be themselves.

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The author(s) of “Beauty and Ugliness” wrote, “Yet he agrees that humans’ perception of beauty is far more complex than that of animals and involves cultural values and traditions. He examined courting customs in different cultures and confirmed that beauty plays an equally central role in choosing mates, in spite of cultural differences.” This goes to show that cultures used tattoos to represent customs in their cultures and to come together because tattoos were images on people’s bodies that were able to link different cultures together. Cultural Views of the New Generation The cultural views on tattoos are not entirely relevant anymore in this new generation. Millennials are taking over the world and changing the meanings of tattoos as they do so.

The author(s) of “The flesh made word: tattoos, transgression, and the modified body” wrote, “ I doubt that the waitress at my favorite pizza place, who has a delicate butterfly tattoo winding up her wrist, thought much about the fact that her ink gives her a shared history, stretching back centuries, with both British royalty and prison gang members. ‘I just thought it was beautiful,’ she told me, when I asked her why she got tattooed.” The author(s) was trying to get their point across that nowadays people don’t need a reason to get their bodies marked with ink. The waitress was just another young person that didn’t have to look much into the tattoo because she was just looking for beauty.

The author(s) of “Tattoos and piercings: attitudes, behaviors, and interpretations of college students” has written, “Angelina Jolie-Pitt gave national visibility to female arm tattoos when she proudly displayed to cameras her ‘Billy Bob Thornton’ tattoo celebrating her love relationship with him.” This goes to show that the meanings of tattoos have changed as the famous actress didn’t get a tattoo because it represented her culture, but it showed who she is as a person. It goes to prove that cultural meanings of tattoos don’t seem to be a concern of the new generations as people just go for what looks the best. This is not offensive, but confusing to those who have marked their skin to show their culture. Cultural Views of Tattoos on a Personal Level People today don’t look at tattoos in the same way.

Tattoos used to be used as ways to express religion and culture, now, by looking at tattoos, you can see the personalities of people. The author from the College Student Journal had written, “–they spoiled one’s identity. Today, tattoos and piercings have become more mainstream.” The author used this to show how tattoos were viewed in the past and then in the present. In the near past, tattoos were frowned upon because people thought that they were sinful or meant a horrid thing. Now, it’s normal to see people covered head to toe in tattoos walking down the street.

The author had also written, “Men and women agreed that high on their list of reasons were ‘decorative statement’ ‘self-identity,’ and ‘symbol of their relationship.’” The author was stating that men and women got tattoos because it gave them an identity or it showed that they were in a relationship. Tattoos are now just another way for people to reflect their personalities on the outside of their bodies. Solutions Though tattoos don’t seem to have a great importance, nor do they cause much controversy from a cultural perspective, it is essential because tattoos have lost their cultural meaning.

Tattoos haven’t reflected the culture of individuals for years now. From all of the research done on this topic, it can be concluded that the cultural perspectives and views on tattoos have decreased and tattoos seem to have no cultural significance. Though people could bring the cultural back into tattoos by merely marking their body with a bible verse or a custom of their culture. To see the full cultural view on tattoos, people would have to research into when the cavemen and dinosaurs roamed the earth and taken through all of the ages, where tattoos slowly turned from something cultural to something personal. This is because as the history as tattoos is unfolded, there are so many different ways to determine the meanings behind every tattoo and once they all come together, people can see how the cultural views on tattoos have disappeared.

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To What Extent Should Body Art Reflect Personal Identity. (2021, Dec 05). Retrieved from

To What Extent Should Body Art Reflect Personal Identity
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